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Task 1 - Nuclear Power

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Nuclear Power
Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which most
frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power
can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions. Presently, the vast
majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium.
Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators.
Generating electricity from fusion power remains at the focus of international research. This article
mostly deals with nuclear fission power for electricity generation.
Civilian nuclear power supplied 2,488 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2017, equivalent to about
10% of global electricity generation, and was the second largest low-carbon power source after
hydroelectricity.[5][6] As of April 2018, there are 449 civilian fission reactors in the world, with a
combined electrical capacity of 394 gigawatt (GW). There are also 58 nuclear power reactors under
construction and 154 reactors planned, with a combined capacity of 63 GW and 157 GW, respectively.
As of January 2019, 337 more reactors were proposed.[7] Most reactors under construction are
generation III reactors in Asia.[5]
Nuclear power has one of the lowest levels of fatalities per unit of energy generated compared to other
energy sources. Coal, petroleum, natural gas and hydroelectricity each have caused a greater number of
fatalities per unit of energy, due to air pollution and accidents.[8] Since its commercialization in the
1970s, nuclear power has prevented about 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and the emission of
about 64 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent that would have otherwise resulted from the
burning of fossil fuels.[9] Accidents in nuclear power plants include the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet
Union in 1986, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, and the more contained Three
Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979. There have also been some nuclear submarine
accidents.
There is a debate about nuclear power. Proponents, such as the World Nuclear Association and
Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, contend that nuclear power is a safe, sustainable energy source
that reduces carbon emissions. Nuclear power opponents, such as Greenpeace and NIRS, contend that
nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment.
Collaboration on research and development towards greater efficiency, safety and recycling of spent
fuel in future generation IV reactors presently includes Euratom and the co-operation of more than 10
permanent member countries globally.
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